Closing sections of Dublin's Longshore Street boosts patio usage

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Thanks to a street closure, Hen Quarter, 6628 Riverside Drive, has been able to recoup a majority of the patio seating it lost to social-distancing requirements during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The establishment has seven tables on the patio available for reservations, said Cherie Thacker, creative director. The extra street space has allowed the restaurant to add 10 more outdoor tables, she said.

These tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis for drinks and small appetizers for now, Thacker said. Hen Quarter hopes to expand these tables to full-service dining in the next two to three weeks.

The additional patio tables will be good for the restaurant, she said.

"It will bring extra revenue to our company," she said.

Several restaurants in Crawford Hoying's Bridge Park development are getting extra patio space courtesy of an initiative from the developer to close portions of Longshore Street and devote the space to on-street patio dining.

Jessica Rexer, vice president of marketing with Crawford Hoying, said sections of Longshore Street between Tuller Ridge Drive and Bridge Park Avenue and between Bridge Park Avenue and Banker Drive closed June 22 to allow for the extra seating.

Weather permitting, the closures will remain in place until late fall, Rexer said. Businesses are starting to use the additional space on a rolling basis, she said, with participants including Urban Meyer's Pint House, REBoL, Hen Quarter, Z Cucina, Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, 16-Bit Bar+Arcade and Pins Mechanical Co. and Fado Pub & Kitchen.

These establishments have entrances off Longshore Street, "so it worked really well," Rexer said.

The goal, she said, was to allow expanded patios with safer access to make up for the capacity lost through state-mandated social-distancing requirements for restaurants and bars, Rexer said.

"They've been hit with quite the situation that COVID-19 brought," she said.

To close portions of the street for patio use, Crawford Hoying had to obtain city permission for temporary use of a commercial patio expansion for each of the participating tenants, Rexer said. Crawford Hoying also had to obtain permission at the state level for the businesses to expand their liquor boundaries so they could serve alcoholic beverages on the street.

To help drivers and pedestrians, Crawford Hoying posted additional signs for wayfinding and event parking, Rexer said. The Longshore Street entrance to the Mooney Garage is closed, she said.

The initiative is providing anywhere from 1,000 square feet to 4,000 square feet of expanded patio capacity, Rexer said.

The area is separated from traffic via planters and fencing.

The restrictions for restaurants creates a limited capacity for customers, said Scott Dring, executive director of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The extra patio space "was a necessity in order for them to survive," he said

"It's going to be a huge boost not only for the restaurants, but the local Dublin economy, as well," Dring said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah